Document Type

Dissertation

Date of Award

12-31-2021

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Urban Systems - (Ph.D.)

Department

New Jersey School of Architecture

First Advisor

Karen A. Franck

Second Advisor

Frank Gallagher

Third Advisor

Arthur B. Powell

Fourth Advisor

Weiping Zhang

Abstract

This dissertation examines four urban ecological restoration projects used as public spaces in the city of Xi'an, China. The overall goal is to understand the social and ecological implications of the site features at both design and planning scale and define what is ecological restoration in China's urban context. The result of the research shows that the top-down planning initiatives approach for establishing ecological restoration sites in urban areas that meet the need for more public open space in addition to restoring healthy urban ecological systems is very different from the definition of what is traditionally understood as "ecological restoration". The impact of the four sites is evaluated through ecological aspects of vegetation productivity and vegetation structure diversity, and through the social aspect of public user and uses. The mapping of changes over neighborhood development shows that the ecological restoration parks are becoming center elements in facilitating the development around their immediate surroundings, which is the result of both state level planning strategies, and the parks influence over the local housing market. The study shows that design techniques that address the promotion/limitation of public access is an important element that defines ecological restoration parks as a unique type that seeks balance between the performance of urban ecological system and public involvement.

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